20 Apr 2015 12:00 AM

Anyone who is involved in website design, development or marketing, will know that tomorrow is an important date in the calendar, April 21st 2015.  Google is usually very secretive in its’ updates and rarely gives clear information about what websites need to do in order to rank better, however this is different.  A few months ago Google gave clear indication that Mobile Friendliness was going to become a significant ranking factor, and since then website owners have been busy preparing their sites for this change.

Business owners may have been approached by companies using scare-mongering tactics to get them to have their websites redeveloped (this update is known as ‘mobilegeddon’).  And yes, it is a big deal and many sites will be affected, but do you need to worry?

Here are some key points worth knowing about these impending changes;

-It will only affect Google searches made on a mobile device – not on a desktop
-Is on a page-by-page basis. So only individual pages that aren’t mobile responsive or don’t have a mobile site will be penalised.
-Branded searches won’t be affected. If someone searches for your company name, then you should still be shown.
-If you aren't sure if your website is mobile friendly, then use this helpful tool that Google created.

A drop in rankings can be terrifying for any small business; however one thing worth considering is how many people actually come to your site from mobile searches? We ran some tests using Google Analytics and we found that in the past year only 8% of visitors to our site actually come from a mobile search on Google.  So yes while a drop in rankings for mobile would affect us, the impact should be relatively minor.  We have a mobile website that users are redirected to if they come to our site using a mobile device, and while this isn’t the most ideal situation, it should suffice for this algorithm update.

With the Internet, and particularly Google, constantly changing, you can never ‘future-proof’ your site. But Google is very clear about where they see the future of websites heading, and that is mobile responsiveness, one website that adjusts automatically according to the screen size it is being viewed on.

So in order to stay ahead of your competitors you need to be asking ‘what does the user want and how will they view my site?’ If you can answer those questions and provide the correct answer, then you’re on the right path.

Guest Blogger: Gordon Soutar - Alliotts, Digital Marketing Executive